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RAISING THE BAR ON SEX SCANDALS

THE BALTIMORE SUN

After South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's admission Wednesday that he wasn't really hiking the Appalachian Trail last week, as his spokesman told the press, but instead was spending the time in Buenos Aires with his Argentine mistress, you've got to wonder if there's a limit to the antics of political officeholders involved in tawdry sex scandals.

Remember Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's toe-tapping come-ons in an airport men's room? New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's out-of-town trysts with a high-class call girl? (He put it on his credit card, for crying out loud.) Or Nevada Sen. John Ensign's dalliance with a campaign staffer who turned out to be the wife of one of his own top aides, poor guy (the aide, not the senator)?

It's enough to make the Starr Report and Monica Lewinsky's blue dress seem almost tame.

Gov. Sanford and Sen. Ensign were both up-and-comers in their party, though their prospects for higher office seem considerably dimmed. Still, they set a high bar for those who will (inevitably) follow. The way things are going, the next scandal-prone pol may have to do it all - tap the foot, bed the staffer, charge the hooker, stain the dress and disappear for a few days on another continent altogether - just to get anyone to take notice.

-Glenn McNatt

Readers respond

This has got to stop. The leering, drooling attitude, that is. As far as I know about the governor of South Carolina, and that ain't much, his actions have nothing to do with government. So, object as much as you like to his policies (and what little I know is all bad), but what he wants to do with his privates is his own business.

Anonymous

Mark Sanford CHOSE to disappear for a week without taking appropriate measures to make sure that his responsibilities as governor of South Carolina would be adequately tended to in his absence. He also left his family in the dark during a time that included Father's Day weekend no less.

Mark Sanford CHOSE to tell lies regarding his whereabouts, and he CHOSE to hold a news conference during which he unloaded in a blubbering, babbling fashion. I'm not from South Carolina, so his behavior is not of consequence for me, but he was talked about as being a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2012, so in that regard his actions hold some national relevance.

Party Pooper

GOP Gov. Mark Sanford believes strongly that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and another woman from Argentina.

Dave T

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